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Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une vague nouvelle (1998)

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1998 (France)  »

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Historia/e kina: Nowa fala  »

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A tolerable chapter at last
19 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The most tolerable part of Jean-Luc Godard's overlong and grossly underwritten, eight-part exploration of cinema called Histoire(s) du Cinéma comes in the form of the chapter on the cinematic event he was a master and commander of - the New Wave, specifically in France. This chapter works to form a montage on clips taken from films that were made during respective cinematic new waves in their land. Leave it to Godard to actually seem to put effort and thought into the one part of cinema that he was a part of, but not look to provide that same care and attention with other parts and instead get sidetracked by philosophical and political ramblings that should've been saved for another disappointing video project.

A New Wave is interesting because Godard throws in clips from his films in the mix as well, which, if we think a bit, reminds us of the very thing director Martin Scorsese didn't do when he made his series A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. Scorsese stopped when he got to the chapter on seventies cinema, for that's when he began making films and feared this part would evoke too much personal bias from himself. Instead, he pulled the plug on that part and called the film quits when that part came in the mix. This isn't suggesting that Godard himself is too egomaniacal and self-congratulatory (there are many other pieces of evidence you can use to accuse him for that), but its does present an interesting point.

Such interesting points need to presented by an audience since Histoire(s) du Cinéma contains only a select few of them. Being that the first two parts of the series were made in the late eighties and it took a full ten years for Godard to come back to the project before cranking out the remaining four parts within the same year, A New Wave, like the previous The Coin of the Absolute, feels rushed in some regards. However, the fact that Godard seems to put care and attention to the structure, pacing, and information in this part is a real unexpected blessing in and of itself.

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard.


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